Are You Truly Thankful?

I hope all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend!

This is the time of the year where many Americans give thanks for various things in their life. In today’s post I just wanted to write about what I’m thankful for and to talk about being thankful in general.

Fall and winter are my favorite seasons of the year – the cool weather, the fall foliage, the white blankets of snow, fires (controlled in a backyard pit), hunting season…the list could go on forever, but you get the point.

You add to that the holiday season and there just isn’t a better 2-3 month stretch anytime throughout the year.

The holiday season alone though seems to change the moods of all Americans.

People are nicer. Giving to people in need, to charities, and to churches goes up in massive proportions. Also, with Thanksgiving in particularly, we’re reminded of how great it is to have time with family and friends.

We’re reminded to be thankful in general and to give thanks for all that we have.

The question(s) I have for you today is: are you really thankful?

Do you give thanks once a year, or are you a person who realizes just how truly blessed you are?

Are you as thoughtful and thankful in March as you are on Thanksgiving day (and during the holiday season)?

The World Revolves Around Me

Up until 2 years ago, I was one of those people that only gave thanks once or twice a year during the holidays, and then once the season was over I went back to focusing on what I cared most about: myself.

Furthermore, I went back to doing what most people do best: whine and complain.

There was little else in the world that mattered other than how my personal universe was going. My self-centeredness was quite impressive.

Reflecting back on my life, and now watching other people around me, I’ve become increasingly aware of how much we complain and how rare it is to find somebody that is truly thankful.

Everywhere you look and every person you listen to complains about something. If you don’t believe me then I challenge you to actually pay attention. You might be surprised at how much we whine on a daily basis.

What I found in my life, and I believe this to be true for most Americans, is that I was never really thankful for all that I had, and that alone was the sole cause for my complaining.

Let me say that a different way: I never understood how fortunate I was, so that led to me being an angry and selfish person that complained about life on a consistant basis.

I lacked something called Perspective: being aware and having a clear understanding of what is happening in the world around you.

Having a true perspective of the world, and your place in it, is a truly humbling experience.

It forces you to realize how small and insignifant you and your problems really are.

More importantly, it makes you realize how blessed and fortunate you are – regardless of what you’re facing or what you’re going through.

Having Perspective

Looking at life through a different lens allows me to be continually thankful – throughout all times of the year. Not just during the holiday season.

When you look at things from beyond your self-centered world, you start to view your problems differently.

You may hate your job, but do you realize there are 13 million people that don’t have a job right now? I’m guessing one of them would gladly accept your misfortune.

You may be going through a tough time with your stubborn, teenage child, and you may from time-to-time wonder if having kids was the right decision. Do you know how many people would give anything to be in your position? Do you know how many people try to have kids, but can’t?

Do you come home from a long, stressful day of work only to have your spouse get on your nerves, or are there days you just wish you could have time to yourself and wish that your spouse (and/or kids) would leave you alone?

If that’s you, then I’d ask you to consider the thousands of families that never get to see their spouse…the thousands of military wives (and husbands) that come home to an empty house because their spouses are courageously serving our country.

Or maybe think about the husband that recently lost his wife to cancer. He’d sure give anything to be in your position right now – to have your selfish problem of having a wife and kids that want to be around you.

Maybe none of those examples resonate with you…so how about something a little less drastic.

Have you been upset recently that you couldn’t buy something, or have something, that you wanted? You’re not alone.

We live in a country where it is no longer good enough to have a job, a car, food on the table, a roof over our heads, and family and friends that love us.

We’re not happy unless we have the best cable package, the luxury house, a new car, and can take the yearly vacation.

We whine when we can’t buy the new 70″ Samsung television, the Ipad2, or when we can’t get the new Iphone 4s – or whatever technology gadget tickles your fancy.

We’re so wrapped up in our own little worlds that we forget (or just don’t care) about the homeless, the underprivileged families in the inner cities, or the millions of other people that don’t live in America and can’t even fathom having the things that we take for granted on a daily basis.

Always Thankful

I learned long ago that things could always be worse, no matter the situation that I’m facing.

It’s one thing to tell yourself that though, and an entirely different thing to realize and understand it.

Having perspective has changed my life, and it can change yours as well.

It will change your relationships with people, your outlook on life, and how you respond to various situations.

Furthermore, you’ll learn to be thankful on a consistent basis…not just once a year. You’ll learn to really be thankful for all that you have.

Giving Thanks

I’m not sure about you, but my wife and I have gotten a pretty awesome tradition going the last couple of Thanksgivings: we travel up to Omaha to see her family and stay with her aunt and uncle.

The day and weekend are filled with football, food, family, and relaxation (what’s not to like?).

It’s absolutely wonderful, and I’m very thankful for all of the work that my wife’s aunt puts into the day and weekend.

It’s hard to list everything I’m thankful for (which is why I give thanks more than once a year), but I’ll give it a try (I would expand on everything, but won’t because it simply would take too long):

  • My wonderful wife and my great family (and my dog, Gunner)
  • My amazing friends and family at LifeConnection
  • A job that I love to do and the great team/friends there
  • My health, knowledge, passions, and skills I’ve been given
  • A roof over my head, food to eat, clothes to wear, and a car to drive
  • For the trials and tribulations that have made me the person I am today
  • For being saved, having a purpose, and having a God who loves me
  • For being born in America and being given the freedoms and privileges that that entails
  • For yesterday and today
  • For the realization that the world doesn’t revolve around me

Learn to look at life through a new lens; the next time you’re about to whine or complain, I’d urge you to try and be thankful for what you have…not for what you don’t.

About the Author

By , on Nov 28, 2011
Andy Tenton
Andy is a 30-something New Yorker who turned his financial life around. He took charge of his finances, got out of debt, and is now working his way toward financial success. He is the publisher of WorkSaveLive.com.

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{One Comment}

  1. Keith Moyer says:

    Great post and subject matter!

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